The term band on the rise is a term that is probably over-used. But when it comes to U.S. outfit Bad Wolves it is probably the only term you can use. The supergroup exploded onto the scene in 2018. First with their cover of The Cranberries’ hit ‘Zombie’ and then with their debut album Disobey hit the charts right around the world. By the time Bad Wolves toured Australia with Nickelback they already had a strong fan base.
Pre-order N.A.T.I.O.N HERE
That fan base is now eagerly anticipating the release of their follow-up album N.A.T.I.O.N. which drops this week so HEAVY Magazine sat down and had a chat with John Boecklin to find out what fans can expect this time around.
“We didn’t really have too much of a starting point with it,” he says when I ask what the band set out to do with N.A.T.I.O.N. “We were just told that it was due for the record label and it was quite soon after Disobey… it was really only about a year and a half. So I went into the studio and just started to write whatever felt right, but we did have a couple of things in mind. Some of the faster stuff we had done was quite complex and we were touring in arenas supporting bands like Five Finger Death Punch so we thought if we made things simpler it would match our surroundings and it was something that our demographic could latch on to.”
The quick rise was something that the band didn’t really expect and it was something that even Boecklin admits he didn’t think would happen that early on. “I don’t think ‘deal with’ is the correct terminology because we had all toured before (Boecklin used to be the drummer for DevilDriver) so we knew what it took to work hard, it was more ‘how do we not look too excited?’ How do we look cool while inside you are screaming ‘oh my God this is crazy!’ Dealing with it makes it sound like it was a pain in the ass but this was everything that we had ever wanted and it was a lot of fun.”
From there we start to talk about whether or not the band felt any pressure going into the second album because of the success of Disobey and the quick turnaround between the two albums. “I’m not going to lie and say it didn’t exist,” he says after a pause. “But I didn’t really feel it at all. Recreating the success of something like ‘Zombie’ was not really on our radar because that would feel like we were trying to compete with ourselves. You can’t have to fear of success you just have to do what you do naturally and I think doing things naturally has meant that we are on par with our first record. Creatively we are where we want to be and if you stick to what you want to do creative things will normally work out, so I try not to let too much stuff affect me.”
One of the things that does really hit you when you listen to N.A.T.I.O.N. is just how heartfelt the lyrics are. Tracks like ‘Learn To Walk Again’ and ‘Sober’ have obviously been written straight from the and heart and Boecklin is only too happy to elaborate on that for us. “I had the most input lyrically than I have ever had on any album on this album,” he says. “So yeah there is a personal connection with the lyrics on this album that I haven’t had before. I can only talk from my own experience but I find music is easy to show and share with someone… lyrics are not. The word that comes to mind for me when I have to show somebody something I have written is an embarrassment because it is a much more personal thing more personal than a riff. I know riffs come from the heart to but it is such a big part of you that it is scary to show it to your friends because if they say no they don’t like it it can sting a lot – more than a lot of other things in your life.”
As we wrap up the interview Boecklin delivers a little bit of a surprise for Bad Wolves’ Australian fans as well. “So we’ve been looking through our tour lists and I think there are one or two opportunities where we might be able to get down there in 2020,” he says. “It is on our list and we will be down there, that is guaranteed, it just depends on which we can make work !”
N.A.T.I.O.N. is out tomorrow.
Pre-order the album HERE, and receive an immediate download of tracks “Crying Game,” “Sober,” “Killing Me Slowly” and “I’ll Be There.”